Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is a detective, smartass and Chicago’s only listed professional Wizard. When two lovers are found dead in a hotel room, killed in a manner bizarre even by supernatural standards, Harry Dresden is called in by Chicago’s Special Investigation Unit to give his paranormal insight. Meanwhile an estranged wife asks Harry to find her missing husband who has taken up a new hobby: magic. Harry learns that Monica Sells’s husband has bigger aspirations than simply making coins disappear; like using the raw power of Mother Nature to strike down his foes. While trying to find the link between the chain of gruesome murders and the missing Mr. Sells, Harry faces off with Gentleman Johnny Marcone, Chicago’s Godfather of crime, who turns out has personal stakes in the police investigation. Harry also has to stave off Morgan, a wizard of the White Council who suspects him to be behind the string of supernatural homicides he’s investigating. Morgan is only looking for half a reason to convict and lop Harry’s head off. . . on the spot.
It’s dark skies over noir Chicago and Harry Dresden has to find the maniacal murderer before the next storm hits, because the next time lightning strikes, it might just strike him dead.
Jim Butcher does a great job of creating a contemporary Detective Noir feel to the world of Dresden. You have your cast of well-known archetypes: the hard boiled cop in the form of Special Investigation’s Karrin Murphy, the untouchable mob boss you’d love to hate in the suit of Gentleman Johnny Marcone, and of course, the detective, Harry Dresden. Dresden’s dry wit, lone wolf persona and old school chivalry makes him the perfect character to follow in this magical whodunit world. The pacing and plot hit you fast and hard and sometimes you feel there is no time to breathe. If this is the type of story you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed. Jim Butcher does give room for deeper moments, like character development and introspective moral quandaries, and though he handles it well, their fleeting nature fails to leave an imprint on the reader’s mind after the moment has passed.
Storm Front also promises for there to be more to The Dresden Files (currently a cabinet of 12) as Jim Butcher expands the series with more eccentric personalities and magical melodrama.
Special note: I heard the audiobook version of Storm Front narrated by James Marsters. There could not have been a better match between voice and personality. As the reviews say on Audible: Marsters IS Harry Dresden. Give it a listen.